The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

January 31, 2013

State turns down speed request

By Jim Krencik
Medina Journal-Register

Medina Journal-Register — RIDGEWAY — An attempt by the town to reduce the speed on a curvy and heavily-trafficked state route has been denied.

Ridgeway had sought to turn the three-mile stretch of Ridge Road between the hamlets of Ridgeway and Jeddo into a 40 m.p.h. zone. It is currently a 55 m.p.h. highway. A formal request for the speed reduction was made last summer.

Town officials have said the reduction would increase safety for the residents along the roadway, including the Amish community, whose bicycles and buggies are frequently passed by speeding motorists. The opening of a general store has also increased traffic on the route.

Councilman Paul Blajszczak, who lives in the 55-mile-per-hour area of Ridge between Murdock and Marshall roads, has seen the results of speeding cars on the roadway.

“I lost shubbery, my mailbox and a telephone pole one time and the shrubs and mailbox in another,” said Blajszczak, who noted a neighbor’s car was totaled by a car going off the road into their property. “People don’t negotiate the curves.”

But since Ridge Road is a state route, any speed change had to be approved by the New York Department of Transportation. According to a letter received last week by Blajszczak, the state doesn’t have the same concerns as the town.

“In consideration of the roadway characteristics, radar data and the review by the State Police, we determined that a reduction ... is not warranted,” Regional Traffic Engineer David C. Goehring wrote.

“They don’t see changing it at this time,” Ridgeway Supervisor Brian Napoli said. “There’s not much we can do.”

Blajszczak said he respected the state’s decision making process, even if it runs counter to his desires. He thinks the speed will eventually be reduced, but it will take “a very negative event,” like a fatal crash to force the issue.

“They researched it, brought out a (NYSDOT) inspector and did a radar survey,” Blajszczak said. “Living here and seeing what happens ... if it was up to us, we’d change it. I think either the criteria is flawed or this was a bad decision ... it doesn’t pass the smell test.”

The decision comes a month after NYSDOT approved a Town of Shelby proposal to reduce the speed limit of Maple Ridge Road by 5 miles per hour between Salt Works Road and the village limits. That proposal also was requested to improve traffic safety.

The town and village are expected to enact one speed zone change that is controlled locally this spring. A section of Bates Road near the former Towne Primary School no longer needs to be 15 miles per hour, officials from both municipalities said Monday.

Upping the limit from 15 to 30 miles per hour will be the subject of a March 11 public hearing before the village board, as the southbound lane is in Medina. The northbound lane is in Ridgeway, which will schedule a similar hearing at a later date.

Contact reporter Jim Krencik at 798-1400, ext. 6327.